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Goals help us stay focused and provide motivation. Even a simple goal like cleaning off our desk can keep our mind on the project and create satisfaction when completed.

This summer I’ve been exercising aimlessly. After I ran the 5K in Duluth in June I wanted to do an event towards the end of summer that would give me something to shoot for and stretch my talents. For example, last year I did the Iron Girl Duathlon.

All summer I watched various races come and go but could never get excited about any of them or find one that didn’t conflict with my schedule. In the back of my mind I saw the 10K race in Mankato as a possibility. Sure, it would challenge me since I haven’t run a 10K for almost 30 years, but it was later in the season than I preferred since the race is Oct. 21.

So I would keep finding excuses not to sign up and as summer came to a close I realized I was on the path to letting my exercise routine fade away like the summer daylight hours. I became increasing frustrated with myself knowing that if I let an opportunity like the Mankato 10K pass by I would be mad at myself for not trying. Then again, for whatever reasons the last few times I ran it was hard, and that was only 2 miles. How could I survive 6?

The answer was right next to me…Dale. He said he would run with me and knowing I had him at my side to help me through any rough spots gave me confidence that I could complete a 10K. So I signed us both up for the 10K and went out and ran 2 1/2 miles. It was the best run I had in a long time. Perhaps a sign that my decision was the right one.

Now I have a goal, a purpose for running and exercising even though the daylight hours are getting shorter and the days cooler. It feels good to have something to focus on. Funny thing is that my running is going better too. I suppose those 90° summer days did drag me down, but mentally I have more confidence in myself. I’ve been running 4 miles consistently and am looking to do 5. Once I do that I know I can do 6, especially with Dale running along with me.

What I enjoyed about the Iron Girl Duathlon last year was the challenge of doing something I’d never done before. It meant setting a goal and then working hard to achieve that goal. I’ve decided I can’t let the fear of failure overcome the opportunity to succeed.

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One of my goals this summer was to run a longer distance race, somewhere between 5-6 miles. I was able to accomplish that goal today with Dale’s help at the Freedom Run 8K in St. Peter. Physically I thought I could probably run that far, but mentally I knew I’d do better and enjoy it more if someone ran with me. Dale, coming off Grandma’s Marathon two weeks ago agreed to be my running partner and pacer.

 The whole family loaded in the van at 6:00 am this morning, since Beth was running the 1 mile kids race and I needed the boys to stay with her while we ran. It was a beautiful morning and as we gathered at the starting line, I wasn’t too nervous but I told Dale my goal was not to walk at all.

We started off at a nice pace and as we ran I already was starting to sweat. Having experienced stinging sweat in my eyes on some of my training runs, I borrowed Beth’s headband that she got at Grandma’s Marathon which really worked to absorb the sweat.

We ran at a consistent pace, slowing slightly for the hills. Dale and I didn’t talk much but I appreciated his words of encouragement and the steady sound of his stride next to mine. As we passed mile marker 3 going up a slight hill, I knew things were going to be okay. As we came upon mile 4, I was ready to pick up the pace a bit, which was the right time since we were starting to go downhill.

As we ran down the hill Dale encouraged me to open up my stride and then as we neared the end, he told me to go after a lady ahead wearing a hat. Just as I surged, she did too, but I passed her right before the finish line and finished with a time of 46 minutes, 50 seconds. Not a course record or even a placing for my age, but still a nice time.

 The race was important to me mentally and physically, to give me the confidence to know I can run those distances. I really appreciated Dale’s support and I know it was hard for him not to just break out and run faster.

 Beth finished the morning with a nice one mile run, finishing second overall and the first girl.

 Setting goals is important; but achieving those goals gives us confidence to do even greater things.

 

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